31 days of devotion – day 2
- How did you become first aware of this deity?
I met Mani totally by accident. I’d been Heathen for at least fifteen years and had never given Mani any thought at all. One day a colleague asked me if I could “horse” Him, carry Him via possession for a ritual.(1) My colleague could not, but ongoing divination had shown that Mani wished to visit in this way. Divine possession is a powerful thing. It is when the Deity allows a bit of Him or Herself to fill up a human being, so that They can speak and act wearing the coat of human skin. It’s a mystery and a wonder and for many the only time they’ll ever come face to face with their Gods. Not everyone can carry a Deity – I think it takes a special talent which you either have or don’t(2)– but for those who can it is powerful service. No one can horse every Deity, no matter how skilled and experienced they are though. In many traditions one only ever carries one’s patron God or Goddess. While that is not the case with the Northern Tradition, I had no idea if I could do this for Mani so I said I’d see and the request sent me off on several months of prayer and devotion to Him. I started engaging with our moon God, building a relationship, seeking Him out, getting a sense of Him. Long before I ever had the chance to finally sit down to do divination to see if I could carry Him, I found that I’d assembled a complete set of regalia, totally without meaning to do so.(3) When I realized this, I just laughed, did the div., got the ok, and agreed to carry Him for the ritual. That ritual was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Carrying Mani was like carrying no other Deity. He was fascinated by the entire process of embodiment and there was a long period of co-consciousness, wherein He delighted in experiencing me experiencing Him, experiencing me. He was also very, very gentle on the horse i.e. me. He left me in good condition, which is not always the case. By the end of that day with Him, I had the biggest god-crush possible on the Norse moon God. I set up a shrine almost immediately and have been venerating Him regularly ever since.
It’s been really really nice to see His cultus slowly blossoming over the intervening decade (it’s at least been a decade by now). More and more people are coming to honor Him and many to love Him dearly.
Here is a picture of my Mani shrine today.
(at least the main shrine. there is more beneath this shelf but it didn’t fit in the shot).
- the term horsing comes from Afro-Caribbean practice, the idea being that one is ridden by a Deity in much the same way a horse is ridden by a rider. I have also seen descriptions of possession (often by Apollo) in ancient Greek and Roman sources that, ironically, utilize exactly the same terminology.
- Which is not to say a God can’t rewire a person to carry Them. They can and do but this generally happens within initiatory, lineaged traditions after specific prep.
- If one is going a formal ritual wherein one will be possessed by a God, it’s often helpful to have regalia to change into right before that occurs. It marks one out as ‘god-space’ and then taking it off becomes an important shift back into mundane ‘self’ headspace.